It’s not my birthday but here’s my wish

There are many, many things I wish would come to pass on behalf of people and planet, but I’m focusing on the personal right now. My wish is for House Wrens to nest in the neighbor’s nest box as they did last year so that I may drink up all that beautiful song* again.

July 3, 2022

Or maybe I’ll be really greedy and wish for wrens to nest at the neighbors’ AND for another pair to come stay in the nest box we hung beneath our deck. Wouldn’t that be something? đź’š

*From Cornell’s All About Birds:
Both males and females sing. Males often sing 9-11 times per minute during breeding season. Songs are a long, jumbled bubbling introduced by abrupt churrs and scolds and made up of 12-16 recognizable syllables. Females sing mainly in answer to their mates shortly after pairing up; their songs can include high-pitched squeals unlike any sounds males make.

So long, 2022

It’s tempting to say this year was filled with nothing but loss — the deaths of my brother-in-law, my mother-in-law, and a friend/critique partner, plus parting ways with my agent. But that’s not the whole story.

I’m in a much better place than I was a year ago as I dealt with the resurfacing of a childhood trauma. I did a lot of work with my therapist in the first half of this year and am much stronger and more centered. That’s a huge win.

This past year I also took my first-ever solo camping trip which made me nervous to contemplate (see above), and ended up having a glorious time.

And while I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, I did want to continue my Hoop Dancing Challenge tradition. In 2021, I hoop-danced for just over 24 hours. And this year? Well, I logged 27 hours and 11 minutes!

Here I am this afternoon with my trusty hoop that brings me so much joy. I’m incredibly grateful to have this outlet, especially on days when it’s a struggle to get out of bed to face another day of our harsh reality. But music and movement kept me going. Hooray for funk!

Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year! Don’t forget to dance in 2023!

Two magpies

Two magpies flew in front of me as I ran on the streets this afternoon, providing a much-needed boost as my energy lagged. I called out to them, “Hello, magpies! I receive the gift of your beauty!”

Of course, I didn’t have a camera with me so here are two that visited my backyard almost exactly one year ago. The bird on the fence had just finished bathing and my photo session shows a continuous stream of magpies performing their ablutions.

December 19, 2021

I feel incredibly fortunate to see magpies on a daily basis. They’re stunning birds that never fail to bring a smile.

Happy Monday, I mean, Tuesday!*

Just popping in to wish everyone a good week!

South Boulder Creek Trail. March 1, 2022.

It was sunny and warm here in this part of Colorado, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to get outside with a friend. We walked a somewhat muddy trail that passed through a small prairie dog town with some gregarious inhabitants.

*I truly thought today was Monday. Oops…

It’s a cat’s life

Marcel lives the life I crave: sitting in a southern-exposure window, basking in the sunshine as clouds float past in the blue-blue sky.

November 19, 2021

This photo’s from November, but today followed the same script: Marcel sprawled along the sill, eyes closed as he soaked up the solar rays. Hey, if it ain’t broke there’s no need to fix it.

Robin’s serenade

Every morning, I open the bedroom window for about fifteen minutes to allow fresh air inside. It feels good to replace the stale with cold and invigorating air that wakes me up both mentally and physically. This morning’s ritual brought an unexpected bonus: a robin’s serenade.

February 2, 2022

While I never did locate where the robin perched outside, it was delightful to stand at the open window and drink in those lyrical notes. It’s only early February, but for a brief time, spring was in the air.

Feathered joy

Our big snowstorm has just begun, tiny flakes drifting from the sky. In preparation, I cleaned the bird bath and replenished the feeders. Soon after, a flock of Bushtits arrived to eat at the peanut feeder, filling my heart with joy. I adore those tiny birds and curse the greedy chickadees that chase them from the food (sometimes while already holding a peanut in their beak). No pics today, but here’s a shot from last fall that I love.

October 24, 2021

That  autumnal dining experience was at a much more comfortable temperature. Currently, it’s just above freezing and the low is forecast at 14 degrees. Stay warm, wee ones.

My tail’s wagging

Photo by Skyler Ewing from Pexels

Today, I ran for the first time in six weeks since injuring my foot while trail-running with Wildebeest. The boot‘s been off a little over two weeks, but I stayed on the streets and ran at a leisurely pace. Although there was no pain, I forced myself to walk before hitting 2.5 miles. Just to be safe. And I iced my foot upon my return.

I’m so happy! Man, I’ve missed the runner’s high.

Yellow + Blue

As I gazed out the window over the kitchen sink today, I saw sunflowers blooming in the backyard. When did that happen? Just the other day, they were tiny green plants and now they’re standing tall.

Sunflower and compost tumbler. July 3, 2021

The sun was shining bright so I waited until there was cloud cover before going out with my camera. Then I couldn’t resist photographing this lone flower next to what could be mistaken for a patch of blue sky.

I’m so happy they’ve returned in all their sunshine-kissed glory.

Epiphany

I recently accepted a work-for-hire assignment with a low word count and remembered all over again how those word counts can be a blessing and a curse. Yesterday, it felt like the latter as I struggled to figure out how to say what needed to be said without going over the chapter word limit. Today I didn’t even have the enthusiasm to open the project and instead opted to do some much needed spring cleaning. (Who am I?!) When I finished mopping, I took a shower.

Image by Fifaliana Joy from Pixabay

Epiphany!

As is often the case with knotty writing issues, something about standing under the water allowed me to see the path forward. I now know exactly how to handle that info in a way that does not violate the word count limit. Tomorrow I shall resume work.

Emma Jean Snow Queen

I spent most of the day reading in bed as my response to the second vaccine dose. The electrolytes and ibuprofen worked wonders and I rallied late afternoon to walk in the sunshine with Zippy and Emma. In shady parts of the neighborhood, there were still piles of snow left from the plows and our exuberant doggo took every opportunity to “submarine” in those piles, roll around on her back, or perform a combination of both. It never failed to bring a smile and I regret not getting pics.

April 16, 2021

This shot from earlier in the week will have to suffice. Take this backyard energy and crank it up about five notches to get an idea of Emma’s happiness level today.

Happiness is . . .

View from my front step. November 10, 2020.

. . . relatively clean air.

This is Denver as seen from my front step. For much of the past several months, the buildings were obscured by wildfire smoke and ash. Downtown was a hazy mirage.

Yesterday, it snowed. Today? I ran and breathed freely. Deeply. Happily.

Breathing deeply

I’m very grateful for today’s clean air! The snow ( temporarily, at least) cleared the smoke and ash from the wildfires. There’s also sunshine. Hooray! And it was a balmy 40 degrees as Zippy, Emma, and I walked around the neighborhood, skirting patches of ice. It’s the first walk in weeks and weeks (months?) in which I didn’t have to wear a mask to protect my lungs from smoke. I felt so free.

House finch. October 24, 2019.

My son, Zebu, doesn’t get it, but I absolutely love the day following a big snowstorm. Clean, crisp air plus blue skies equals happiness.

This photo was taken the day after one of our snowstorms last October, but it’s a perfect representation of this day. And maybe this same House Finch is out in the plum bushes as I write these words.

Who’s a good girl?

Emma. September 14, 2020

Here’s my happy doggo to perk up anyone in need of perking (not to be confused with twerking, although, if twerking makes you feel better, by all means do that!)  The photographic quality is low and Emma’s smile is slightly blurred, but the emotions shine through.

As Charles M. Schulz famously wrote, happiness is a warm puppy.

Sunday Confessional: tree no more

For years, a cherry tree flourished in a four feet by four feet space on the patio. It was lovely and we made pie with its fruit. The birds, bees, and we loved it. Then the tree became sick and we had to cut it down. Last summer, one volunteer sunflower grew in that space.

Sunflowers on patio. July 12, 2020.

This year, it’s a literal sunflower forest. I just took my camera out there to finally document the tangle of stalks and blooms. And I smiled the entire time. Here’s a tiny sampling of the happy flowers thriving there.

My confession? Right now I hardly miss our dear old cherry tree.

Happiness is

Dayliles make me happy. They’re cheery and vibrant. They intrigue from every angle.

Daylilies in my front yard. July 3, 2020.

Also? They’re a very low maintenance perennial. What’s not to love?

One happy dog

I just hit SEND on the 44,000-word middle-grade manuscript I’ve been revising. I sent it to two readers who haven’t seen it before which means fresh eyes/fresh insights. Woot! Hitting SEND also means this project is no longer my concern (temporarily, but still!) and that I’m free to be and do as I please for the next week or so.

Right now, I’m feeling like this doggo that walked past my house this morning.

Unknown happy dog. June 28, 2020.

Woof!

Getting back on that horse

Ten days ago I took a bad fall while running on the trails. I’m healing and this morning decided it was time to get out there again. I’ll admit to being nervous, but once I was out there amidst the wildflowers, butterflies, grasshoppers, meadowlarks, magpies, and robins, I was so happy.

A taste of what I saw this morning. Image from AllTrails site.

However, happy doesn’t equal not-nervous. As I got closer to where I’d fallen, images of that fall popped in my head and I tightened up. So I chanted, “Feet on the ground. Feet on the ground. You are connected to this trail. Feet on the ground. This is your happy place. Feet on the ground.” My body relaxed.

I intended to run past the scene of the fall, but decided it was important to stop and examine the site. I immediately spotted the rock I believe was the culprit. It was dark and partially submerged, hard to see. Damned rock. But now I know it’s there and will forevermore lift my feet high as I run past it. I also know there will be many more joyous runs on that trail because today I got back on the horse that threw me. Yeehaw!

Robotic HOORAY!

I just hit SEND on my work-for-hire project! Not only that, but I turned it in ahead of schedule. The manuscript and bibliography weren’t due until tomorrow, people. Am I awesome or what?!

And in case you’re wondering about the significance of this happy little robot, the book is about Artificial Intelligence. Not exactly in my wheelhouse.*

Okay, I’m off to celebrate with some Robot Dance moves . . .

*understatement of the year

Happiness is . . .

Zippy and I ran around the neighborhood with Emma this morning. Lots of sunshine. The rest of the day was filled with NBA basketball viewing plus a last-minute decision to bake cookies. We had (just barely) the ingredients for oatmeal raisin cookies and I made those while the games played in the background. Wildebeest and Emma napped together partway through the afternoon. Zebu went downstairs to shower in preparation for a family photo, but that was a couple hours ago and we haven’t seen him since. My best guess is he’s now napping, too.

Pretty much an ideal day.

Sunday post-run portrait

Not sure when the lady beetle hopped on board, but I was happy to have its company on this gorgeous spring afternoon. It’s been a very difficult week and I welcome any overture of friendship.

It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events.
Joy comes in sips, not gulps.

~ Sharon Draper

Twofer Tuesday: a peek into my day

This morning I pulled some manuscript/project boxes out of the closet to see if there’s anything in there worth salvaging for my next writing endeavor. (My little writer brain has to have something to noodle on, so while I await my critique group’s feedback on my work-in-progress, I’ve started thinking about what comes next). Well, those boxes proved irresistible to the cats.

Marcel claiming his literary territory

Later this afternoon, Emma and I went out on the trails. Although it was warm enough for me to wear shorts and a short-sleeved shirt, there were still a few patches of snow along the way. We stopped running so that Emma could do her thing.

I laughed as she scooped snow with her snout and dug holes with her paws and slid down the slope on her tummy.

Emma + snow = happiness